What is Marijuana Sap? [The Beginner’s Guide]

Cannabis sap is a form of cannabis concentrate which has been extracted from raw cannabis plant material. A cannabis concentrate contains a very high level of THC (as high as 90-100%) and other cannabinoids like CBD, and is also rich in terpenes. There are two main methods used to extract cannabis concentrates, namely solvent and solventless extractions.

A solvent is a substance that dissolves a solute to form a solution. In this case, the solute can be the cured buds of a cannabis plant, dry trim, or even a frozen fresh cannabis plant. The most commonly used solvent in cannabis concentrate extractions is butane, but other solvents such as propane, ethanol, acetone, and carbon dioxide are also used. In the case of butane-based extractions, the solution is then placed in a vacuum oven in order to evaporate any residual butane from it so that you are left with a highly potent cannabinoid and terpene-rich cannabis concentrate which is safe to consume.

Supercritical CO2 extraction is a safer and cleaner alternative to butane extractions. With butane, there is the risk of explosion and residual butane being contained in the cannabis concentrate after the purging process. In supercritical CO2 extractions, CO2 extraction machines freeze and compress carbon dioxide which turns it into a “supercritical” cold liquid. The raw cannabis plant material is then placed in an extractor, and the supercritical CO2 is passed through it. This process produces a cannabis concentrate with a runny and sticky consistency, which is known as cannabis sap.

What is Cannabis Sap?

One of the main benefits of cannabis concentrates is that you end up with a substance which contains a much higher THC level. Whereas an average cannabis strain has a THC level of around 15-20%, a cannabis concentrate can contain a THC level as high as 90-100%. Therefore, you will only need to consume a very small amount of the highly potent cannabis concentrate to achieve the desired effect.

Cannabis concentrates come in many different physical forms and are generally nicknamed after their consistency. You may have heard of cannabis concentrates such as shatter, pull ’n’ snap, and cannabis sap (there are many more). Shatter is widely regarded as being the purest form of cannabis concentrate. It contains a staggeringly high THC level of between 90-100%. Shatter gets its name as it resembles glass, is very brittle (when it cools), and tends to shatter easily. Pull ‘n’ snap essentially is shatter with a more taffy-like texture. Cannabis sap, on the other hand, never solidifies but remains in a viscous liquid state.

There are a number of factors or methods which can result in a cannabis concentrate with the consistency of cannabis sap. Heat-treating the raw cannabis material prior to extraction as well as decarboxylation will produce cannabis sap. Cannabis plants with a naturally higher terpene content tend to produce a cannabis concentrate with a viscous liquid consistency. Factors like heat and moisture content can also affect the consistency, transforming the cannabis oil into a runnier viscous state, i.e., cannabis sap.

How to Consume Cannabis Sap

There are a number of ways to consume cannabis sap. Sap can be dabbed, smoked in joints, bowls, and vape pens, and also used in edibles after decarboxylation has occurred. The pliable nature of cannabis sap makes it suitable for twaxing. Twaxing is simply applying the cannabis sap to the inside, outside or tip of a roll or bowl. If you are twaxing on the inside of a joint, then make sure that you place the cannabis sap in the middle of the joint and that it is surrounded by cannabis – this will ensure that it burns evenly. If you are using it on the outside, then apply a thinner, more even layer to avoid drips.

Dabbing is a very popular method of consuming cannabis concentrates. The cannabis concentrate, such as cannabis sap, is placed on a hot nail, which is typically made out of quartz, ceramic or titanium, and vaporized. The resulting vapor is inhaled through a “dab rig.” The temperature of the nail should ideally be between 550-750 degrees Fahrenheit. A higher temperature will produce more vapor, while a lower temperature will preserve more of the flavor and terpene content of the cannabis sap.

If you are dabbing your cannabis sap, it is recommended that you dip your dap tool into the cannabis sap and twist to wrap it around it; this will give you more control over it and should help prevent waste. Due to the sticky adhesive quality of cannabis sap, it is recommended that you store it in parchment paper or in a non-stick silicone container.

Final Thoughts on Cannabis Sap

Cannabis sap is one of a large number of cannabis concentrates out there which are continuing to grow in popularity due to the natural advantages they have over simply smoking cannabis weed. Cannabis sap and cannabis concentrates in general have a much higher THC level than your average weed, and retain more of the terpene content and flavor. Due to the potency of cannabis concentrates like cannabis sap, a little goes a long way, meaning that you can consume a small amount and still enjoy the same or arguably better results.

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